James Fields is our alum of the month.
Tell us about your Mikva Challenge experience.
Mikva had a great impact on my life! It helped me realize that no matter how young or old you are, you still have a voice and you can utilize your voice to advocate for yourself and others like you. Throughout my experience with Mikva, I have learned that in order to see change, you must be willing to take action and be a leader. My experience at Mikva also made me socially aware of issues that affect different communities.
I was involved in the elections process for the Cook County Board President. I also had the privilege to witness candidates Todd Stroger Jr and Tony Paraica be interviewed for the Chicago Tribune endorsement.
What programs were you involved with at Mikva?
I was a part of the after school Student Political Action Committee and our school’s Political Action elective, both of which engaged in action projects through the Issues to Action/Student Voices program. I also had a wonderful opportunity through Mikva to be a part of the Chicago Tribune board meeting for endorsement of cook county president. This fueled me to be more aware of the campaign process in my country and community. I have worked closely with the alderman in my community to put together events.
What are you doing now?
My Mikva experience as a student has led me back to be part of the Mikva family as a proud employee. I lead Peace and Leadership Councils at Fenger High School and Hope High School. Dreams do come true.
How has your experience as a Mikva Challenge youth informed who you are today?
Mikva Challenge has made me a civically engaged young African American man throughout my entire life. It helped me enhance my leadership skills and kept me socially conscious on some issue that happen in my community. It taught circumstances don’t have to define you and you can still make things happen if you utilize all your resources and networks. I have always been active within my community by mentoring or just encouraging youth to be socially conscious and willing to take a stand.